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Ukraine strengthens defense against drones with electronic warfare systems

Ukraine is ramping up initiatives to equip more regions with electronic warfare (EW) systems. This strategy, a top priority for the Ukrainian government in 2024, aims to protect vital infrastructure and key facilities from Russian drone and cruise missile attacks.
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President Volodymyr Zelenskyi announced measures to ensure more Ukrainian regions receive electronic warfare defense systems (Picture source: Mykhailo Fedorov)

President Volodymyr Zelenskyi disclosed these plans in a recent address, emphasizing the crucial role of EW and mobile air defense fire (ADF) groups in safeguarding Ukrainian skies, particularly in protecting soldiers. He noted that 359 soldiers have been shot down this year and stated that work is being done to enhance the efficiency of mobile fire groups and to ensure that more Ukrainian regions receive electronic warfare defense systems. He also mentioned that half of the existing systems are already made in Ukraine, developed domestically even though there are partnerships with foreign countries.

In a related development, Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov announced that Ukraine plans to transition the production of electronic warfare equipment to market conditions. Fedorov expressed a desire to open the production of electronic warfare systems to entrepreneurs, thereby increasing competition for Defense Ministry contracts. This move aims to replicate the success achieved with drones by opening the market and fostering competition.

Fedorov also mentioned that the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has already started actively contracting electronic warfare equipment. Last December, the Defense Ministry authorized the use of new domestic radio-electronic warfare complexes designed to counter UAVs in the military, marking a significant step toward enhancing Ukraine's defense capabilities against modern aerial threats.

Several Western countries, mainly the United Kingdom and Lithuania, have also formed a drone coalition aimed at delivering multiple UAVs to Ukraine. This coalition has been joined by the Netherlands and Sweden, among others.

Electronic warfare (EW) has emerged as a pivotal element in modern conflicts, profoundly influencing their outcomes by leveraging the electromagnetic spectrum for both offensive and defensive purposes. This multifaceted domain encompasses activities like jamming enemy radar and communications, protecting one's own electronic networks from interference, and gathering intelligence through electronic means.

The conflict in Ukraine, in particular, has underscored the critical role of electronic warfare. For example, both sides have engaged in jamming GPS signals, affecting the guidance systems of drones and precision-guided munitions. The ability to interfere with or entirely disable the enemy's communication and navigation systems can significantly degrade their operational capabilities, impacting decision-making and the coordination of forces


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